Young Guns, Barrett Belts Chillicothe (Mo.) Mudcats Closer to Second Sunday
Hurler goes route on 4-hitter in 4-2 home win over St. Joseph, backed by outfielder’s fifth homer of summer
By PAUL STURM, C-T/LCL Sports Editor
CHILLICOTHE, Mo. — It might not quite qualify for being an example of Star Trek villain Khan’s pithy cinematic postulation “revenge is a dish best-served cold,” but Chillicothe Mudcats pitcher Jake Young surely savored his triumphant pitching performance in Sunday’s (July 18) 4-2 home victory over the St. Joseph Mustangs.
Precisely four weeks after he sustained a complete-game, 1-0 loss to the Ponies on “June” Shaffer Memorial Park Stadium’s “Chuck” Haney Field, Young(3-2) threw another 9-innings complete game against St. Joe this past Sunday, limiting the team his club is chasing in the MINK League North Division standings – albeit to try to finish second to division champion Clarinda, Iowa – to only four hits while firing only 97 pitches.
The Mudcats’ victory – offensively fueled by revived first baseman/outfielder Greyson Barrett’s fifth home run of the season with a runner aboard in the bottom of the first inning and two later singles – narrowed the gap between the Mustangs (19-16, 16-15 MINK) and Mudcats (14-17, 13-17 MINK) to 2-1/2 games with still one head-to-head meeting ahead and less than 10 total games remaining for each squad.
Chillicothe and St. Joseph are due to play the last of their eight games against each other Wednesday at St. Joe. Thus far, including Sunday’s Mudcats win, Chillicothe has won four of the first seven.
Before then, the Mudcats will make up a pair of June home rainouts against the Joplin Outlaws with a 6:05 p.m. doubleheader Monday (July 19). Chillicothe head coach Tyler Hudlow disclosed Sunday that lefthander Scott Duensing and righthander Mitch Alba will be the Fish’s starting hurlers for the 7-innings contests.
Joplin, currently at the bottom of the league’s South Division standings at 14-17 (also its overall record), posted 16-6 10-runs-rule home triumphs in seven innings over the Mudcats on consecutive nights June 17-18 before being rained out here on back-to-back evenings exactly a week later.
Against St. Joseph Sunday, right-hander Young (Lisle, Ill./Fairmont State U.) no-hit the opponent over the last five innings after giving up two hits and one run each in the second and fourth frames. Both runs were driven in by lefthanded-hitting cleanup man Ike Book via a home run over the right-field wall in the second and a no-outs single in the fourth..
On the next batter after Book’s game-tying, run-scoring single – the Mustangs’ last hit of the game, it proved, a defensive play by Chillicothe center fielder Braedyn Brewer turned the tide back to the hosts.
Ranging far to his right, Brewer hauled in a fly ball in deep left-center field, then uncorked a perfect throw to third to double up the lead runner trying to get there after the catch.
That was the Mudcats’ third inning in succession with executing a double play. The first two came on ground balls to shortstop Blake Falor that second sacker Payton Allen served as pivot man on.
Having grabbed the quick 2-0 lead in the first inning when lefty-hitting Barrett launched his own shot over the boards in right, Chillicothe didn’t score again until the fifth.
On the heels of a 1-out walk to Josh Swinehart in the fifth, Barrett pulled another hard-hit shot into right, this one sinking in for a basehit which easily sent Swinehart dashing toward third. However, when the Mustangs’ right fielder failed to come up with the ball cleanly on Barrett’s hit, Swinehart was waved around third and slid across the plate with the lead-reclaiming run just ahead of first baseman Book’s relay throw.
Barrett ended that play by cruising into second base, then went to third on a wild pitch before Zack Stewart pulled a hard grounder between the third baseman and the bag for a RBI double that made it 4-2, Chillicothe.
Statistically, Young walked only two men and hit another (Book in the ninth inning) while striking out only two. His teammates played errorless ball behind him, although Young incurred an “E” himself with a wild throw to first on a bunt he fielded in the sixth inning.
With his team-leading second complete game, Young now has thrown a Mudcats-most 44-2/3 innings. He now shares with Koby Linder the team lead in wins with three.
Barrett’s home run – one of his three hits – put him in a tie for second-most roundtrippers in the league and his pair of runs driven in lifted his team-best total to 29, second to Clarinda’s Travis Welker by two.
Joining Barrett in having multi-hits games for the home team were Stewart and – of all people – Alba, who served as designated hitter for a second time in a few days. He singled softly into right field in the fourth and then slashed a line-drive hit down the right-field line in the eighth.
Alba was forced into that duty again by the absence of Lucas Loos, who was making a recruiting visit for a Florida 4-years school, according to Mudcats general manager Doug Doughty – and the sore hand being experienced by Petey Taylor. Also still not allowed to play, due to recent concussion, was Zack Cox. Cox was expected to return to duty Monday.
Although they didn’t do that much damage against him, the Fish at least fared a good bit better against St. Joseph starting and losing pitcher Mack Stephenson as they faced him for a second time in seven days.
The right-hander, who struck out 13 in six innings of 3-hits ball against the Mudcats on July 12, went 6-1/3 this time, but was tagged for the four runs and eight hits in absorbing the defeat.